For Tre Mosley and his mother Brenda, the holidays are more than just a time of year when you give gifts to loved ones. They are a reminder of how precious life is, and how the smallest notion of kindness can change a dreadful outlook for anyone.
He may not look the part, but 8-year-old Tre is playing the role of Santa for a lot of kids who may have been in the same condition he was several years ago.
At 2-years-old Tre was diagnosed with cancer of the kidneys. His right kidney was completely consumed by a Wilms tumor. So much so that it had to be removed. He spent several consecutive months inside a hospital recovering from something every parent hopes and prays never affects their loved ones. A simple toy changed everything for Trey and his mother though.
“He fell in love with this little toy car,” Mosley said, “And he had all these wires all around him, but it was just his fortitude to get out of bed and drive this little toy. It inspired me to do something more for the kids.”
Tre’s cancer is in remission, but between his infectious smile and the bounce in his step, you would never guess he’s dealt with such hardship at a young age. And the only thing bigger than his heart this season is the bag of toys he’s carrying around.
Brenda approached Tutor Time, a local daycare and learning center, earlier this year with the idea to sponsor a toy drive for kids who were suffering from cancer and other severe illnesses over the holidays. According to Brenda, Tutor Time didn’t hesitate for a second to lend a hand.
With the added support of a nationally recognized learning facility behind Tre’s cause, local retailers like Target donated gift cards to be used for the purchasing of gifts.
On Monday, Tutor Time hosted a celebratory kick-off event for Tre’s toy drive. Children from the center wrapped gifts while Christmas carols played in the background. Before the party was over, all of the toys were packed into large moving boxes to be transported downtown. The boxes couldn’t contain all of the brand new donated items that mysteriously seemed to be multiplying by the minute.
“It feels good because other people who are sick in the hospital have to go through a lot hard things, and it’s good for them to have something nice,” Tre said, after he helped packing up the toys. “When I had cancer, I had to go through a lot of (similar) things.”
The first stop of the day was at Wolfson Children’s Hospital, where one of the large boxes of toys was dropped off with hospital staff. Despite his Santa hat and jolly smile, Tre was unable to hand-deliver each present due to hospital regulation.
His next stop was just down the road, at a place that is closely connected to Wolfsons and to the Mosley family.
With a little help from his mother, Tre carried his bright red bag full of gifts into Nemours Children’s Specialty Care. The bag was hard to miss as it was stretched to the limit with an assortment of dinosaurs, action figures, Barbie dolls and of course toy cars and trucks.
“When Tre was going through that, I know we struggled financially a lot. Just the medical bills are enough to make your head spin. So, for us to be able to take this burden off the parents and not worry about the Christmas shopping is a prize to me.”
One after the next, the toys slowly disappeared as kids filed into the waiting room at Nemours to greet a slightly shorter and less rotund Santa with a bag of gifts and a warm smile. Following the selfless transaction of a toy between Tre and a young patient came the season’s simplest but most encompassing phrase: Merry Christmas.
“That little moment means everything to them,” Mosley said. “The smile they have on their faces when they get this toy is priceless. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
And in case you were wondering, the number one item on Tre’s wish list this year is a toy motor car.